May 8, 2017, 11:30 pm
Rudy Gay’s four-year tenure with the Sacramento Kings looks to have come to an end after ESPN’s Marc Spears reported that the 30-year-old plans to opt-out of the final year of his contract and enter free agency this summer.
Prior to tearing his left Achilles back in January, Gay was solely focused on bypassing his $14.2 million player option and hitting the open market. Things became much more complicated following his season ending injury and it led many to believe Gay would in fact opt-in, and return for the final year of his contract with the Kings.
However, with the news that his recovery is coming along quicker than expected, Rudy and his management feel confident that a long-term deal can be secured in free agency this summer. This decision does come at a high risk especially with the infamous reputation an Achilles injury has.
Despite his decision to opt-out, reports indicate that Gay is open to returning to Sacramento but that would seem like a long shot at this point. The Kings have all the leverage in a situation like this; they can’t really lose either way.
How does Rudy Gay’s decision to opt-out affect the Kings moving forward, and what happens if he somehow does return to Sacramento during free agency?
Future outlook with Rudy Gay
This scenario is the least likely of the two as a reunion in free agency between the two sides would just be plain weird. Gay suggesting that he could return to Sacramento isn’t shocking — he has always said the right things when it comes to contractual issues. It’s not worth looking into too much but hey, the Kings are weird so who knows what might happen this summer.
If Rudy does return, he will almost certainly be the focal point on offense. He’d easily be the most established scorer on the roster and the fact that the offense could potentially be run through him is a terrifying prospect. Gay is great as a second scoring option, but you are asking for trouble if you want him to create offense every time down the floor; just ask anyone associated with the Raptors.
This is a situation that probably won’t work out well for both sides so it’s pleasing to know this option is a long shot at this point. Any prospective team that is interested in Rudy Gay will likely be signing him on as a second, even third scoring option and in such a role he will thrive; it just won’t happen if he decides to come back.
Future outlook without Rudy Gay
With Rudy Gay’s contract now off the books, the Kings are set to have a ton of cap space this summer. Indications are that Sacramento could potentially have north of $60 million in cap space to work with in free agency. The max potential cap space the Kings can have is $61.8 million which is sizeable compared to other teams around the league.
According to @RealGM the Kings have the possibility of $61.8M in max cap space this summer.
— SactownBabyGiraffe (@TimMaxwell22) May 8, 2017
It is well documented that Sacramento struggles to reel in any big name free agents, so is having all this cap space essentially worthless? Not at all. Yes, the Kings may have to severely overpay to try and lure any “top flight” free agent to town but that’s just the reality and it has been for years now. In this day and age, money talks and there will be players out there that will be drawn to a lucrative long-term deal.
Plug a top-tier free agent or two in the mix and the Kings’ future outlook begins to look a little brighter. Pair that with the impending draft selections and the roster begins to fill out nicely.